The RPH Nursing Research Foundation 2022-23 Grant Applications are Now Open!


Providing grants to a total of $15,000 for financial assistance to nurses working in or with the Royal Perth Bentley Group pursuing research projects in 2022-2023. See the flyer here.

Closing Date: Monday, 18 July 2022

New Researchers are encouraged to apply.

For grant application and information packages contact:

Amanda Campbell
Executive Assistant to the Area Director of Nursing, Midwifery & Patient Support
Royal Perth Bentley Group
T: 9224-2198

For grant queries and general information:

Emeritus Professor Gavin Leslie
Curtin Nursing School, Curtin University
T: 0401 103 344

Jennifer Nicholas
A/Nurse Educator (Research) NP CDE
Royal Perth Bentley Group
T: 0428 404 086

Can you identify a sepsis symptom?

A new nursing research project at Royal Perth Hospital is aiming to help more patients spot the signs of this life-threatening condition which accounted for 19.7% of all global deaths in 2017.

RPH Emergency Department Nurse Jonathon ‘Jono’ Burcham received the Doreen McCarthy Nursing Research Grant ($20,000) to study the level of sepsis awareness in patients attending ED.

The Doreen McCarthy Nursing Research Grant  is a jointly funded initiative between the RPH Nursing Research Foundation and the RPH Research Foundation.

Jono’s project will explore how to maximise patients’ retention of vital health information about sepsis.

Signs and symptoms of sepsis include:

  • rapid breathing.
  • rapid heart rate.
  • confusion, slurred speech or disorientation.
  • fever or shivering.
  • muscle pain.
  • not passing urine.
  • discoloured skin.

Congratulations Jono, we look forward to hearing about your research findings!

Amazing Nursing and Midwifery Care Group

Amazing Nursing and Midwifery Care Project Update September 2020

The Amazing Nursing and Midwifery Care project is our promise to our profession and our patients that we are committed to no patient harm and delivering what matters most.
The program looks at how we as nurses and midwives can better work together with clinical and support teams to improve our patient’s healthcare journey.

The following five program components make up the Amazing Nursing and Midwifery Care project:

  • Team Nursing – Care is delivered by a team of nurses with a variety of skills and knowledge who work together under the leadership of an appropriately skilled nurse or midwife to meet the needs of their patients.
  • Bedside Handover – Bedside Handover increases opportunity for patient engagement by ensuring handover is conducted at the bedside and involves the patient.
  • Safety Shift Huddle – A process conducted at the start of each shift where the oncoming nursing and midwifery team and the outgoing shift coordinator meet prior to bedside handover to review key safety risks and patients of concern on the ward.
  • No Pass Call Zone – A means of ensuring that a patient’s request for assistance is answered in the shortest timeframe and that no staff member passes a patient who is asking for help
  • Care Rounding – a member of the team visits the patient

Four of the five strategies have been established at Royal Perth Bentley Group. Care Rounding is currently in phase 1 of implementation, commencing in a stage approach in November 2020 at Royal Perth Hospital.

Since the commencement of the Amazing Nursing and Midwifery Care project the Patient Experience has demonstrated an increasing trend in the Net Promoter Score and placing RPBG in the ‘excellent’ category.

A recent re-evaluation of staff perspective of Team Nursing has demonstrated a shift in perspective. Prior to the implementation of Team Nursing 89% of nurses preferred the patient allocation model of care. Recent findings reveal 66% of nurses are satisfied with the Team Nursing model of care. Ongoing change management strategies are being implemented to support staff to embrace and embed the Team Nursing model of care.

The evaluation process for all strategies is ongoing with staff feedback demonstrating some inconsistencies across clinical areas. Ongoing support is required to embed all strategies across the organisation to support a strong, safe and efficient culture.

nurses working with patient

This project aimed to evaluate the safety, efficiency and cost of a two person independent IV medication administration procedure to the bedside compared to current single person IV medication administration. A secondary objective was to capture the frequency of interruptions during the IV medication process.

A randomised controlled design using direct observations at pre and posttest was undertaken to capture IV medication administration data on four clinical areas at a major public tertiary teaching hospital. Medication safety culture was also assessed along with the time taken to administer an IV medication and the frequency of interruptions during this process.

A total of 310 IV medications were observed being prepared and administered with a total of eight errors (3%) identified across both the intervention and controlled wards. Across both the intervention and controlled wards there were low numbers of IV medication errors observed which were further corroborated by low numbers of IV medication clinical incidents reported. Findings revealed that there was no conclusive evidence that using a two person IV administrative check to the bedside was any safer than using a single nurse administration.

Fifty four percent (n=167) of IV medication administrations were interrupted between 1 and five times, with a total of 305 interruptions observed. The top reasons for interruptions included; to discuss a patient (n=76; 26%) followed by a request from a patient or relative (n=46; 15.8%). Mean medication safety culture scores were positive indicating that staff regard medication safety as important. Timing of IV medication preparation and administration were collected with a mean time of 11 minutes required to prepare, check and administer IV medications in this sample of patients. To contextualised this finding, for every 100 IV medications administered the extra five minutes required to have a second nurse check the IV medication to the bedside equates to an additional 8 hours and 20 minutes of nursing time required.

The safety net of double checking IV medications remains questionable with definitive findings as to the benefits of this procedure not able to be verified by this project. The reinforcement of independent rather than collaborative medication checking is warranted to ensure that medication checks are completely impartial to outside influences. Finally, any interruption during medication preparation and administration should be viewed as detrimental to patient safety. As such staff and patients need to be made aware of the fact that interruptions can lead to medication errors.


RPH recognised that there were significant gaps in how the risk of patient aggression was communicated to staff, in particular those with limited or no access to patient documentation, electronic patient information systems or verbal handover.

The RPH Aggression Prevention and Intervention and Research portfolios undertook a study into systems that alert staff to the risk of patient aggression.  This study was supported by grants from the RPH ‘Foundation for Nursing Research’ and ‘Nursing Fellowship’.

One of the recommendations from the study was to introduce signage that would visually alert both clinical and non-clinical staff to the risk of aggression.

This has now been introduced, supported by a Standard Operating Procedure and Education

A recent survey has been undertaken to audit the visual alerts against the SOP and a further survey is planned to assess the effect of the alerts on the original identified staff groups.

In the interim, the feedback from staff has been very positive in enabling them to identify risk, ask for a verbal handover of the behaviour of concern and any triggers / relievers and precautions required.

Update! Alert Systems in use at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) for Patient Aggression, How they Affect Identified High Risk Staff Groups and Alert Systems in Similar Hospitals. 

RPH has a significant organisational and occupational safety and health risk relating to patient aggression.  It was recognised that there were significant gaps in how this risk was communicated to staff, in particular those with limited or no access to patient documentation, electronic patient information systems or verbal handover.

The RPH Aggression Prevention and Intervention and Research portfolios undertook a study into systems that alert staff to the risk of patient aggression.  This study was supported by grants from the RPH ‘Foundation for Nursing Research’ and ‘Nursing Fellowship’.  Key objectives were to identify alert systems in place within RPH, assess their effect on identified high risk staff groups, review current literature and explore alert systems used in similar hospitals.

The study demonstrated an unambiguous evidence base supporting aggression risk alert systems and the governance required to support these.   Recommendations were made to increase the opportunities to communicate/alert staff to the risk of patient aggression through clinical documentation, referral systems, electronic patient information systems and the use of visual risk alerts.  The key priority was to develop the governance around the use of alert systems prior to their introduction to ensure the aggression risk alert process was fair and lawful, objective, based on a specific incident(s) and risk assessment and that there was clearly defined criteria, authorisation and review process.  The governance process also needed to explore the issues around open disclosure, informing and when not to inform patients that they have an alert specific to aggression.

The recommendations from the study had the potential to alert every RPH staff group of potential risk, facilitating their ability to implement risk reduction measures, potentially preventing or reducing the consequence of patient initiated aggression.

Significant progress has been made in the two years following the report and recommendations.  Most notable is the introduction of signage designed to visually alert staff to the risk of patient aggression.  These alerts are yellow and black magnets on the patient journey board and yellow and black signs on the entrance to single patient rooms or above the patient’s bed space within shared rooms.  The governance around the use of the visual alerts is underpinned by a standard operation procedure which includes criteria for use, authorisation, review, open disclosure and safe systems of work and is supported by education.

A recent survey has been undertaken to audit the visual alerts against the SOP and a further survey is planned to assess the effect of the alerts on the original identified staff groups.  Anecdotally, feedback from clinical and non-clinical staff indicates that the visual alerts assist them in identifying risk and offers opportunity to seek a verbal handover as to the risk behaviours, triggers, relievers and required precautions.  One other notable improvement in regards to the visual alerts is that any patient with a visual alert must have a nurse escort during any inter hospital transfer, again improving the opportunity for verbal handover of risk.

In regards to clinical documentation, communicating the risk of aggression has improved with the review of the ED Triage form to include a section relating to behaviour in the ward handover section of the form.

In regards to electronic patient information systems, there have been some improvements with select ward staff gaining access to the Emergency Department (EDIS) and Mental Health (PSOLIS) risk alerts and ward staff having access to iSOFT handover on patients who are behavioural ‘patient of concern”.  A whole of WA Health electronic system is being progressed at a WA Health level following the Health Ministers Summit on Violence.  It is anticipated that this will also support the outpatient areas who continue to have very limited communication in regards to aggression.

Improving the hospital discharge process to minimize patient readmission: a partnership with consumers.

This proposal is based upon findings of pilot work for improving patient discharge processes undertaken in 2017 in the Acute Medical Unit1.

The 50 observed discharges recorded waiting times of 209 mins (median) due to delays in paperwork/prescriptions, availability of medical staff or competing service delivery demands. Of the 43 patients followed up at 1 week, 7 (16%) had been readmitted. Patients reported lack of clarity about their hospitalisation, expectations for self-care, and frustration with delays. Nurses reported being uncertain if patients understood discharge information/expectations, and that constant, competing demands led to rushed discharge conversations.

The aim of this research is to refine and trial innovative processes to prepare patients for discharge including a focused final conversation to ensure understanding and clarity for self-management at home.

This has been shown to improve self-management and decrease readmissions.
This will be achieved through –

• Enabling in-patients, with family, to formulate ‘questions for my team’ about current treatments and expectations upon discharge.

• Incorporating strategies such as ‘teach-back’ to gauge patients’ understanding of self-management requirements; simplify information exchange by creating ‘5 most important points’ to guide discussions

• Assessing new interventions using 50 observed patient discharges

• Following-up patients at 1 and 6 weeks to determine readmission/satisfaction/coping

• Using Focus groups/short surveys of health professionals and patients to determine impact/effectiveness of interventions

• Ensuring health literacy and patient centredness are central to methodology